Vaccine effectiveness for COVID-19 is typically estimated for different outcomes that often are hierarchical in severity (e.g. any documented infection, symptomatic infection, hospitalization, death) and subsets of each other. Conditional effectiveness for a more severe outcome conditional on a less severe outcome is the protection offered against the severe outcome (e.g. death) among those who already sustained the less severe outcome (e.g. documented infection). The concept applies also to the protection offered by previous infection rather than vaccination. Formulas and a nomogram are provided here for calculating conditional effectiveness. Illustrative examples are presented from recent vaccine effectiveness studies, including situations where effectiveness for different outcomes changed at different pace over time. E(death | documented infection) is the percent decrease in the case fatality rate and E(death | infection) is the percent decrease in the infection fatality rate (IFR). Conditional effectiveness depends on many factors and should not be misinterpreted as a causal effect estimate. However, it may be used for better personalized communication of the benefits of vaccination, considering also IFR and epidemic activity in public health decision-making and communication.
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